In round 1 of USPHL Premier Playoffs, the Monarchs Premier team hosted Islanders Hockey Club. The Monarchs took game 1 (February 23rd) 3-1, with goals by Staif, Racy and Harris. Ryan Racy’s goal marked his 100th point in a Monarchs jersey since 2016. Game 2, the Monarchs fell short 4-2, an empty net goal in the 3rd forced a game 3. Damon turned away 25/28 shots he faced during the game. Kuraly and Madrid scored the only goals for Monarchs during the game. The Monarchs dominated Game 3, 6-1. Kuraly scored 2, Harris, Barto, Mercure, and Racy all scored as well. Damon stopped 43/44 shots. This series win allowed the team to move onto round 2 versus #1 seed, Northern Cyclones.
Whenever the Monarchs and Cyclones face each other, it is always promised to be a good game with an intense atmosphere. With a trip to Nationals or a team’s season ending on the line, this series proved no differently. Game 1 was nail-biting intense and needed OT to determine a winner. Briere, Gardner, Hillman, and Anastasio all scored in regulation. Cyclones, John Wilson tied the game with just under 2 minutes remaining to force the game into a 20-minute OT. Nathan Smith assisted by Mercure and Briere scored 3:15 to end the game with a 5-4 win. Game 2 did not fall in the Premier teams favor as they were only able to score 1 goal to the Cyclones 4. Tanner Derby scored his second goal of the season, and the only one for the Monarchs during the loss, forcing a third game. Game 3 was intense and invigorating for not only the fans but the players. One teams season would come to an end and the other would move onto Nationals. Logan Harris scored the first 2 goals of the game one in the 1st period and again 51 seconds into the 2nd period, his 3rd and 4th of the playoff season giving the Monarchs a 2-0 lead. The scoreboard stayed 2-0 through the 2nd. The Cyclones score 4:05 into the 3rd, but Anastasio extends the lead 3-1, 14:56 into the period. The Cyclones were able to get one more on the board, but Tjin-A-Ton sealed the win with an empty net goal with 40 seconds remaining in the period. Justin Damon faced 175 shots only giving up 10 in 183:15 minutes played during this series.
The Premier team will play Charlotte Rush this Saturday (3/9) at 8:30am at the Essex Sports Center. New York Aviators (3/9) at 6:00pm at Gallant Arena, and Minnesota Blue Ox, Sunday (3/10) at 1:30pm with a chance to advance to the Championship on the line.
After receiving a first round bye in the USPHL Elite Playoffs the Elite team hosted the Islanders Hockey Club for round 2. The series winning team would head to Nationals, while the losing team’s season would end. Game 1 on Thursday (2/28) the Elite team came out with a 4-2 win. Goals scored by Kurlyandchik, Sturgeon, Ladysov, and Burridge. Peter Barry grabs his 18th win of the season in a well-played, fast paced game. The Monarchs dominated Game 2, taking it 4-1 with Barry grabbing his 19th win. Goals scored by Alexandrov x2, Sutton, and Fagan.
The Elite team will make their run for the title facing the New York Aviators on Saturday (3/9) 1:00pm at Gallant Arena, Tampa Bay Juniors (3/9) 8:45pm at Essex Rink, and Hampton Roads Whalers, Sunday (3/10) 11:00am at Essex Arena.